Posted by: ellenpayne2012 | November 18, 2012

Google is watching and winning

The Shadows (Carr, 2010) talks about how Google’s chief criterion in ranking search engine results (the quality of links coming into a site) is no longer its only ranking indicator. It’s now one of at least two hundred carefully guarded signals that Google monitors, one being freshness.

Google is incented to reduce the cost of the Internet and expand its use, while increasing its share of profits from its complementary businesses like Google Ads, online commerce and local reviews.

A New York Times article from Nov. 4, 2012, talks about Nextag, a comparison-shopping site, whose business quite literally relies on Google but in other ways is a competitor. With more than 60 percent of its revenues dependent on Google searches, the company was understandably upset when traffic began falling dramatically. After trying every geeky thing they could imagine to determine how they got on the wrong side of Google’s analytics, the company heavily invested in Google’s paid search ads. “We had to,” says their chief executive, “We’re living in Google’s world.”

This coincides with a government inquiry into Google that could result in an antitrust suit filed by the Federal Trade Commission. It’s OK to build a large corporate behemoth (Google dominates more than 67 percent of all online searches) but it’s another thing to stifle competition.

Question: Do you think Google’s motivation for continually tweaking its search results algorithm is purely to improve service or does Google also use it to crush possible competitors?

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